One of the things that often surprises people is the fact that when I go on the road to promote my books, I bring everything I need for my classes and demonstrations with me. While I occasionally find myself teaching in spaces that have fully stocked kitchens, more often that not, I’m working at farmers markets, bookstores, and other impromptu venues.
The upside is that one quick stop at a grocery store and I have everything I need to make a recipe from my book. The downside is that I do not travel light. Happily, it’s a trade-off I am most willing to make.
For Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, I’m traveling with two pieces of cookware. A low, wide, non-reactive pan in which to cook the preserves and a small canner. When I was promoting Preserving by the Pint, I swapped a 12-inch skillet in for the larger pot.
I have a few different pieces that serve as the preserving pan, but my very favorite is low, wide 8 quart All-Clad stockpot pictured above. I’ve had a version of this pot for nearly seven years now and it is beloved in my kitchen. I was never able to take mine on the road with me, because the model I had didn’t work with an induction cooktop. Thankfully, the kind folks at All-Clad took pity on me this year and sent me one that works with my traveling induction burner.
My trusty 4th burner pot serves as small batch canning pot during my traveling demos. If I need a larger canning pot for on-the-road classes, I make arrangements to borrow one, as I just can’t fit a giant stockpot into my suitcase (one has to draw the line somewhere).
Outside of the cookware, the thing that takes up the most space in my suitcase of canning gear is my burner. I travel with a portable induction burner because all it needs to work is an electrical outlet. I’ve had two of these Duxtop burners for the last five years and they’ve been incredibly reliable and sturdy (though sadly, one did get destroyed on a recent flight. The TSA opened my suitcase, didn’t secure the wrappings around the burner well, and it cracked).
I also make sure to tuck a short extension cord into my travel bag. This one is a ten footer, which is enough to reach an outlet in most situations (and if I know that I’m going to need more length than that, I make arrangements ahead of time).
Tools and Utensils
The rest of the gear is an assortment of small tools and utensils, chosen for their ability to pack small and work hard.
- A small Epicurean cutting board (light and sturdy!)
- One vegetable peeler
- A little paring knife with sheath
- Lid lifter
- Jar lifter
- Measuring spoons (I can’t find a link to the exact tiny ones I travel with)
- Measuring cups
- Microplane zester
- Wide mouth funnel
- Potato masher
- Silicone spatula
Oh, and they’re not pictured (because I left them in Portland), but I also always tuck a pair of Blossom Trivets into my suitcase as well. All this gear makes for a jangly suitcase, but having this stuff with me means that I always have what I need.
Disclosure: In case it wasn’t clear earlier in the post, All-Clad gave me the 8 quart pot you see pictured above in exchange for promotional consideration. I bought everything else featured in this post.